Instaclustr Managed Apache Kafka vs Confluent Cloud

See Why Instaclustr Offers the Best Managed Apache Kafka Over Confluent Cloud.

If you are building real-time data streaming for your applications then Apache Kafka is the answer.  It is the leading streaming and queuing technology for large scale, always-on applications. 

The Instaclustr Managed Platform will not only let you build and deploy an open source Apache Kafka cluster in minutes, it also delivers a highly performant, reliable and scalable solution with low latency. 

High-Level Differences Between Instaclustr Managed Apache Kafka and Kafka on Confluent Cloud*

Description Instaclustr Managed Apache KafkaConfluent Cloud
Managed Service for Open Source Technologies
Managed ServiceInstaclustr is a dedicated Managed Service and Support provider with more than 70 million node hours of management experience. Our focus is on running open source software at the highest level of reliability.Confluent is a software development company providing managed services, developing and licensing a proprietary distribution of Apache Kafka and related tools.
Managed PlatformIn addition to Kafka, Instaclustr Managed Platform also provides other open source technologies including  Cassandra, Spark, Redis, and Elasticsearch so that you can use a single provider for your data infrastructure.Only Kafka
Open Source100% open sourceMix of open source and proprietary offerings available
CostTransparent pricing—you simply pay your cloud provider charges and a flat management fee on top of that.Confluent charges approximately $0.10 USD for each gigabyte stored, sent in, and sent out of the cluster. A total charge of $0.30 USD per gigabyte.
Security Certification and SLAs
Independent Security CertificationInstaclustr is the first managed service provider to be SOC 2 certified for its Cassandra applications, and this has been extended to all our managed service applications including Managed Kafka.

Additionally, we are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliant.

Contact us about HIPAA compliant options for health data.

SOC 2 Type and PCI-DSS is available
Uptime SLAsInstaclustr provides guaranteed SLAs and provides up to 99.999% for critical tier clusters with dedicated ZooKeeper (except developer nodes).99.95%
Downtime SLAs1.01 minutes50.4 minutes
Cloud Providers and Plan
Amazon Web ServicesYesYes
Google Cloud PlatformYesYes
IBM CloudYesNo
Microsoft AzureYesYes
On-Prem Managed ServiceYesNo
Automatic Use of Multiple Availability ZonesYesYes
Fixed Monthly Price Inclusive of Cloud Provider Charges (Run in Our Account)Yes (as an option)No (transaction volume based pricing)
Run In Your Own Cloud Provider AccountYes (as an option)No
Transparency to Underlying ResourcesInstaclustr’s pricing and deployment model allows you to understand exactly what you are paying for.Pricing available on bandwidth consumption i.e total amount of data transferred in and out of your cluster. 

Two types of plans : Basic and Standard, both have different pricing. 

For Enterprise offering, most likely they provide an option for dedicated resources and the pricing for that is through custom contracts and is not clear on their website.
24/7 Expert SupportYes for all use cases.Confluent Cloud support is available under 4 plans. 24X7 coverage only available for Business and Premier Plan.
Support TiersEnterprise-level, critical application ready support for all production clusters.Nothing with Basic
Choose any of the 4 support plans
Single support policy for Premier.
Kafka Version Supportv2.1+ with user choice of version.Latest Confluent Platform version only.
Monitoring DashboardInstaclustr provides a fully managed console where you can manage and monitor all your data. 

The best aspect about Instaclustr console is that it is fully managed and you can work on all your open source technologies on Instaclustr Managed Platform from a single command center.
Confluent provides a self managed control center for Kafka and some console based monitoring
Monitoring APIKey Kafka metrics are available via the Instaclustr Monitoring API and can easily be integrated with 3rd party monitoring solutions such as DataDog and provides Prometheus format endpoints for a single view of your application stack.

Instaclustr has a more extensive Metrics API.
Proprietary format Metrics API
Technology Parameters
UpgradesYes—with zero downtime model and timing agreed with customer. Yes—timing entirely at Confluent’s discretion except for breaking changes.
VPC PeeringYes—Custom VPC which allows customers to create Kafka clusters in their existing VPC.

Available for dedicated clusters in AWS and Azure.
Managed ZooKeeperYes—We provide an option for dedicated ZooKeeper nodes which provides benefits in situations that require high performance and reliability

Backup and RestoreZooKeeper backup and restore.
Active/Active Kafka Architecture using Mirror Maker 2 in a managed Kafka Connect cluster available as a option.
Streams API
Customers can write and run their own streams applications on their own servers.
Provisioning API
Create a Kafka cluster via API
Terraform Provider for Cluster ManagementYesNo
REST Proxy
Provides universal access to Kafka from any network connected device via HTTP
Fully Managed REST Proxy available as an add-on when creating Instaclustr Managed Apache Kafka cluster.Self managed by customers
Schema Registry
Data compatibility with a central registry for schema format and evolution
Fully managed Schema Registry support as an add on for Kafka offering on InstaclustrYou can use Confluent Cloud Schema Registry to manage schemas in Confluent Cloud.
Managed Kafka Connect
Kafka Connect is part of Apache Kafka 
Fully managed Kafka Connect  available on Instaclustr Managed Platform. 

Bundled with our Kafka Connect are fully supported connectors for Cassandra, AWS S3, and Elasticsearch.
Specific connectors supported.

If you want to run a connector not yet available in Confluent Cloud, you must run it yourself in a self-managed Kafka Connect cluster.
Custom Kafka ConnectorsYou can deploy your own custom developed connectors, connectors from the open source ecosystem, or connectors that you have licensed.
We can also build the custom connectors you require.
Migrate an existing Kafka installation to Managed Service.
Migration planning and execution provided at no additional cost. Zero downtime migration available in most cases.Unknown
Data BalancerInstaclustr support team ensures topics stay balanced when new nodes are added.Confluent provides automatic support.
Active/Active Managed Kafka Mirroring
Replicates data between clusters within or across regions for DR and other purposes
Fully Managed Apache Kafka MirrorMaker 2 including relevant SLAs and configuration UI.Self installed and managed—Confluent’s proprietary Replicator software.
Service BrokerInstaclustr Service broker which adheres to Open Service Broker Standard industry specification allow customer’s cloud native apps running on Kubernetes to seamlessly integrate with the Instaclustr Managed platform while remaining fully portable across various Cloud platforms. This enables customers to build multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud environments.
This is in addition to existing Instaclustr’s bespoke APIs.
Tenancy ModelDedicated clustersMulti tenant (standard offering)

Instaclustr Advantage

Instaclustr Managed service for Apache Kafka is the best way to run Kafka in the cloud, providing you with a production ready and fully supported Kafka cluster in minutes.

Our commitment to open source is based on the real benefits that we see on a daily basis. Developed by large communities, open source is delivering benefits such as cost, flexibility, transparency, security, and technology freedom.

As the open source-as-a-service company, we regularly commit patches and new features to the projects. A few selected examples of our contribution to the world of open source include:

We provide fully managed Apache Kafka database clusters, integrated with other core data layer open source technologies.

Instaclustr’s technical operations teams have extensive experience running, operating, and supporting open source software. Our support options give you around the clock access to deep technical support

Security has been baked into Instaclustr’s platform and operations since Day One. We understand that you are trusting us with your valuable data, and we take that responsibility very seriously. As part of our security focus, several of our offerings are PCI-certified, and we have been SOC 2 compliant for several years. Both of these certifications require individual and regular external compliance audits.

We support both Run In Your Own Account (RIYOA) and Run In Instaclustr’s Account (RIIA) for our Managed Kafka and core open source technologies

On our managed platform, Kafka can be provisioned on AWS, GCP, and Azure and is bundled up with a host of additional features ready for enterprise deployment.

70 million+ node hours under management and managing over 7PBs of data across a wide and diverse set of use cases and industries.

Today’s leading companies are using Instaclustr to manage, scale, and optimize their open source deployments. Know more about our customers

Enterprise Support Offering Instaclustr Kafka vs Confluent*

FeaturesInstaclustr (Enterprise Support)Confluent – Support only available with purchase of Confluent Platform
Technology100% Open Source Apache Kafka including Kafka Connect, MirrorMaker, Zookeeper and Kafka Streams. Schema Registry and REST proxy also supported.Confluent Platform—based on open source Apache Kafka but with proprietary extensions.
Response SLAsAs low as  10 minutes (20 minute standard)
24 x 7 critical incident resolution guarantee.

30 minutes response SLA for the Premier Plan for Critical business impact cases.
Commercial OfferingSupport – you use the free, open-source software and pay Instaclustr to provide the assistance you need for quick resolution of issues and reliable operations. You are free to continue using the software if you end your use of Instaclustr’s services.Licence—you are paying Confluent for a licence to use their proprietary software on a subscription basis. A level of support is provided as per traditional proprietary software. Should your subscription lapse, you no longer have the right to use the software.
PriceTypically significantly cheaperTypically significantly more expensive
Operational SupportYes – from hands-on operators working in our managed service operations teamYes
Code-fix SupportYesYes
Monitoring, Data Observation & Topic ConfigurationInstaclustr provides a free licence for Operatr, a powerful tool designed  to assist developers truly understand their Kafka application, with Apache Kafka support subscriptionConfluent Control Center and KSQL provide some similar functionality

24X7 Instaclustr Expert Support for Apache Kafka

Backed by our 24/7 expert support team, the Instaclustr Managed Platform will eliminate the operational burdens so that your development and SRE teams can focus on building your application.

*The comparison is based on publicly available information at the time of publication.